Sunday, August 31, 2014

USTA League Florida Section early start ratings are out

The Florida section of the USTA has released their early start ratings for 2015 leagues that are starting this Summer/Fall.  See the page for separate men's/women's PDFs by subsets of the alphabet.

I did have a team check with me to see how I predicted the stays and bumps and my ratings went 7 for 7 correctly predicting 5 stays and 2 bump downs.

Friday, August 29, 2014

USTA League New England section early start ratings are out

Another section has released their early start ratings for 2015 leagues that are starting this Summer/Fall and it is New England.  There are separate PDFs for men and women.

I've heard from a number of Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Report customers that my estimates for them were correct and they were/weren't bumped up or down as I predicted.  But in an effort to have full disclosure, while I haven't done a comprehensive check, I also missed on a few I heard about, although all but two were by just a few hundredths.

Still, when you include how I did in predicting bumps in the Pacific Northwest, Texas, and Northern, I think I have a pretty good track record.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2014 USTA League Pacific Northwest 18 & over Sectionals are complete - Northwest Washington cleans up!

This past weekend the Pacific Northwest section of the USTA held their 18 & over Sectionals and with their completion, teams are headed to Nationals.  Here is how the districts fared by gender and NTRP level.


  • 2.5 - Northwest Washington (Amy Yee)
  • 3.0 - Northwest Washington (Robinswood)
  • 3.5 - Northwest Washington (Bellevue Club)
  • 4.0 - Southern Oregon (Clackamas River Racquet Club)
  • 4.5 - Northern Oregon (Sunset Athletic Club)
  • 5.0 - Northwest Washington (Bellevue Club)


  • 2.5 - Northwest Washington (Robinswood)
  • 3.0 - Northwest Washington (Aces)
  • 3.5 - Northwest Washington (Robinswood)
  • 4.0 - Northwest Washington (Pro Club)
  • 4.5 - Northwest Washington (Sandpoint)
  • 5.0 - Northwest Washington (MICC)
Astoundingly, Northwest Washington took 10 of 12 levels and all of the mens!  I'm sure there was some grumbling from folks representing the other districts.  One wonders if this means folks in NWW are going to be more likely to be bumped up at year-end?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Observations from Pacific Northwest USTA League 18 & over Sectionals - Two teams played each three times AGAIN!

I just wrote about two 3.5 teams from Seattle that played each other three times in the same season; sub-flight, local playoffs, and Sectionals.  It turns out, it is very common!  At least this year it was, as another two teams from the Seattle area played each other three times.

These two teams were in the 4.5+ teams in the 40 & over division, Central Park and Amy Yee.

They were both in the same sub-flight in local league play where Amy Yee won 4-1 and won the sub-flight.

Both teams advanced to local playoffs where they met in the final, Amy Yee winning again 4-1.  But again, a wildcard allowed both teams to advance to Sectionals.

The teams were in different flights, but both won them going undefeated setting up the third match-up of the year.  Central Park did improve, but still lost 3-2 sending Amy Yee on to Nationals.

Observations from Pacific Northwest USTA League 18 & over Sectionals - Two teams play each other three times in a season

I was browsing through the results from the PNW Sectionals held in Spokane this weekend and came across an interesting situation where two teams from a local league where they played each other just once in their sub-flight ended up playing three times.

In the Men's 3.5 flight, the final came down to two Seattle area teams, and not just that, but two teams that were in the same sub-flight in local league play.

In their local sub-flight, Robinswood finished 10-1 with a 43-12 court record and 33 sets lost.  Mill Creek also finished 10-1, 43-12, but had 31 sets lost.  However, because head-to-head is the tie-breaker before sets lost this year, Robinswood's 3-2 win over Mill Creek put them in first place.  And one of those court wins was a match tie-break, so a very close match.

Both teams advanced to local playoffs where they met in the final, Robinswood winning 4-1 this time, one of the matches in a match tie-break.  However, because there was a wildcard for the Northwest Washington District, both teams advanced to Sectionals.

At Sectionals, the teams were in separate flights, and Robinswood went 4-0 to win theirs, while Mill Creek went 3-1 and 13-7 to tie with a team from North Idaho, but Mill Creek had won the head-to-head match 3-2, one in a match tie-break, to win the flight.  Thus, Mill Creek and Robinswood had their third meeting.

Alas, the third meeting was no different from the first two.  Robinswood won 4-1, this time only the one win by Mill Creek was a match tie-break so it was nearly a sweep.

So congratulations to Robinswood who is headed to Nationals and did so by beating a persistent Mill Creek team three times.

I have to think this is pretty rare, two teams playing three times each at different stages of the season. Has anyone heard of something similar?

Update: It turns out it is common.  See this.

More teams headed to USTA Nationals - Sectionals completed in Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and Northern California

USTA League Sectionals were completed in several sections including the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and Northern California this weekend.  And playoffs continued with teams winning Districts and qualifying for Sectionals in other sections.  And I'm pleased to say that there were more than a few individual and team report customers that have advanced.

But playoffs aren't over yet.  A few more sections still have Sectionals to play, and October isn't that far away and that month will be filled with a different Nationals every weekend on into the first week of November this year.  Good luck to all the teams that advance and participate.

Friday, August 22, 2014

More teams vying to win their USTA League Sectionals and head to Nationals this weekend

At least two more sections wrap up their USTA League play this weekend holding Sectionals competition to determine what teams will advance to Nationals.

Northern California holds their 18 & over Sectionals in and around Monterey.  If everyone can avoid being distracted by the beautiful scenery, there should be some very good competition as Norcal regularly fields strong teams at Nationals.

The Pacific Northwest section also holds their 18 & over Sectionals in the Spokane area.  While not as well known as Monterey, Spokane is itself a beautiful city and the PNW also fares well at Nationals so the competition will be fierce amongst the teams trying to get there.

Good luck everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

More on the "DQ and reverse" rule adopted by some USTA sections

I wrote a couple days ago about how the "DQ and reverse" rule regarding matches played by DQ'd self-rated players can have interesting effects on the results at USTA League playoffs and result in premature celebration.

Someone commented on that blog and I came across a scenario in a section where the rule is to DQ and reverse where the DQ effect was even deeper.

Imagine team A going in to their last match against team B with both having 2-0 records, the winner advancing to Nationals.  Team A wins their 3rd court while 1D is still finishing.  Team A 1D goes ahead and finishes and wins in a match tie-break, so a 4-1 win and off to Nationals right?

Not so fast.  Team A 1D had a self-rated player that was DQ'd in that last match.  Ok, so 3-2 win and off to Nationals then right?

Not so fast.  Team A had an earlier 3-2 win where the DQ'd player had won, and since this was now reversed too, that became a 3-2 loss.  So now the teams are both 2-1 and the courts won tie-break (this was before the new rule using head-to-head earlier) sends team B to Nationals.  This happens despite the fact that they just lost 4-1 (even 3-2 if you want to reverse the DQ'd match) to the other team.

Now, if the team A DQ'd player was really out of level as the DQ indicated, you can make the argument that this is the right thing.  Team A shouldn't benefit from having an out of level player.  But it introduces complications and delays regarding going back farther into prior round robin phases to have the champion ultimately determined.

It also creates situations where a team may actually benefit from throwing a match against a self-rated player in order to get them DQ'd and reverse an earlier match.  Imagine a scenario where team A is 4-0 in round-robin play and is playing a 2-2 team B in their last match.  There is no chance for the team B right?  Best case is they win and only get to 3-2 and team A is 4-1.

Not so fast.  In this case, team B could lose the match 3-2, and have a record of 2-3 while team A's is 5-0, but team B end up winning and advancing.  How?

If team A has a self-rated player that is carrying two strikes and won a court in a prior 3-2 win, and team B throws the match against that player causing them to be DQ'd.  It is also possible that if the match wasn't thrown, the player would not have gotten a third strike.

In this scenario, that team A 3-2 win becomes a 3-2 loss.  Ok, the records are now team A 4-1 and team B 3-2.  But wait, that prior team A 3-2 win now gets reversed too and team A falls back to a 3-2 record.  One can then conjure up scenarios where team B wins the tie-breaker between the teams at 3-2.

So, as unlikely as this scenario may seem, the extra delays and checks to determine the champ, and this incentive to throw matches or other related shenanigans are possibly the argument some sections use to not adopt the "DQ and reverse" approach.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Premature celebration in USTA League playoffs - It can be the difference between going to Nationals or not

I was looking at results from some of the USTA League Sectionals played this past weekend and came across what appears to be an interesting situation.  I'll preface my comments by saying I'm getting all my information just from looking at scores on TennisLink and reading between the lines, but think I have it right.

In the Florida 18 & over 3.5 final, Duval and South Miami/Dade faced off and the score sheet shows South Miami/Dade won 3 courts and Duval 2.  Further, it appears that court 1 singles was tied at a set apiece when the South Miami/Dade player retired.  Now, perhaps there was an injury, but my guess is that the player saw or was told the team had won 3 courts so the team match was over and so retired to go celebrate rather than finish the match as it meant nothing at this point right?  The team was headed to Nationals!

Well, not so fast apparently.  If you look at the draw for the final, it shows Duval beating South Miami/Dade 3 courts to 2.  What happened here?  Going back to the score sheet, you will notice that court 2 singles was a 6-1,6-2 win for South Miami/Dade, but that player is noted as being DQ'd.  Further, the asterisk indicates that not only was the player DQ'd so not eligible to play at this level going forward, but the match was reversed and awarded to the opposing team.  Thus, in the standings, and for what counts as far as who goes to Nationals, Duval won the match.

If all of this is accurate, I'm guessing the South Miami/Dade court 1 singles player is kicking himself for retiring, or even if he was injured, for not trying to find a way to eke out the match tie-break as that could have been the difference between going to Nationals or not, the not happening in this case due to the retirement.

So the lesson learned is, don't retire to celebrate a seeming 3-2 win in playoffs unless you are 100% certain the scores from all the courts will stand.  So to be safe, unless you are at Nationals where DQ's and match reversals don't happen, just don't retire from a match.

Monday, August 18, 2014

USTA League Pacific Northwest 40 & over Sectionals are complete

This weekend the Pacific Northwest section of the USTA held their 40 & over Sectionals and with their completion, teams are headed to Nationals.  Here is how the districts fared by gender and NTRP level.

Update: Hood River won the women's 3.0


  • 2.5 - Eastern Washington (Hood River Sports Club)
  • 3.0 - Eastern Washington (Hood River Sports Club)
  • 3.5 - Northwest Washington (Edgebrook Club)
  • 4.0 - Northern Oregon (Clackamas River Racquet Club)
  • 4.5+ - Northern Oregon (Sunset Athletic Club)


  • 3.0 - Northern Oregon (Multhnomah Athletic Club)
  • 3.5 - Northwest Washington (Eastside Tennis Center)
  • 4.0 - Northwest Washington (Seattle Tennis Club)
  • 4.5 - Northwest Washington (Amy Yee Tennis Center)

I'm not sure what the hold-up is for the 3.0 Women, the two finalists are listed and the match was scheduled for 9:00 AM yesterday, but no result yet.

But congratulations to all that qualified and played at Sectionals, and especially to the Sectional Champions.  Go represent the PNW well.

It is pretty clear from the above that two districts dominated this year, Northern Oregon and Northwest Washington.  This is probably not that big of a surprise as those are the two most populated areas and so have the most talent to draw from.  But it is perhaps reassuring to see that no single club is sending more than one team to Nationals so it is spread around in that regard.

There were a number of Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Report customers playing at Sectionals and many of them contacted me for updated reports afterwards and shared their experiences from the event which is always fun to hear about.

For those that are advancing to Nationals and want to do some scouting of opponents, Team Reports are a great way to do that.  Contact me for more information or if you are interested in purchasing.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

USTA Florida section strength of tennis players by NTRP level and district - More Interesting USTA League Stats

Continuing in the series of interesting stats blog entries, here is how the Florida section districts compare.

The chart below shows the average NTRP rating by level for each district in the Florida section of the USTA. Ratings used are the Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings used in calculating Individual and Team reports.

Here is a static image.
There is a little variations with the 3.0's, but the other levels are pretty consistent across regions

You can hover over each bar in the interactive chart below and see what the average rating for that level in that district is.

Friday, August 8, 2014

2014 Pacific Northwest USTA League Sectionals are upon us

August is the month for playoffs across most every section of the USTA for USTA League play, but since I'm in the PNW section I thought I'd make specific note of the upcoming playoffs here.

The 18 & Over Mixed Doubles Sectionals are taking place in Yakima this weekend (August 8-10).  This league, at least in the Northwest Washington district, has a pretty compressed schedule, so the teams headed to Sectionals have had a rapid series of local league play so should be ready to go.

The following weekend, August 15-17, the 40 & Over Adult Sectionals will be held in Portland.  These leagues have been running most of the year, some perhaps even early start leagues from late 2013.

Last, but not least as it is the largest assembly of teams, the 18 & Over Adult Sectionals will take place in Spokane on August 22-24.  These leagues have been going on for awhile as well so I'm sure the players are rearing to go.

In all cases, winners at each level will qualify for Nationals.  Good luck teams!

New USTA League Nationals move-up/split-up rule for 2015

It is that time of year when players start thinking about forming teams for 2015.  In some areas, early start leagues (ESLs) will be beginning soon so players are registering now, but even where ESLs aren't being formed, teams are wanting to get players lined-up for so they aren't scrambling to fill out their roster at the last minute.

It would seem doing this is pretty straight-forward, you find players of the right level and they are eligible to be rostered.  But there are a few gotchas.  First, for non-ESL leagues, they will use year-end ratings and you don't know who will be bumped up/down or not yet as ratings don't come out until December.  I can help with this through my Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Reports that will give you a very good idea on what a player's detailed rating is and if they will be bumped.

But the USTA also has a few extra rules that can come into play, notably around players/teams that go to 2014 Nationals.

There was some angst among some groups of players earlier this year when a new rule regarding the formation of teams with players that had qualified for Nationals in 2013 was put in place.  The rule basically said that no more than 3 players that had qualified for any 2013 Nationals could be on a roster of any 2014 team.  There was a provision for a team to be able to stay together if they moved up a level as a team though.

One issue many had was that this was too broad, especially around mixed play.  Specifically if multiple teams from an area happened to got 2013 Nationals, they were pretty severely handcuffed in how the 2014 teams could be assembled.  For example, if a men's 4.0 team and women's 4.0 team both went to Nationals from an area, both with 15 person rosters, and all the players wanted to play 8.0 mixed, the 30 players would have to get distributed across at least 10 teams in order to adhere to the no more than 3 Nationals players per team.

A second issue was that the move-up allowance only applied to the division the team was in.  So if a 40 & over 3.5 team went to Nationals, they could move up as a team to 4.0 in the 40 & over division, but no more than 3 of those players could be on an Adult or Mixed team even if they were playing as a 4.0 now.  So they would not be able to move-up as an 18 & over 4.0 team.

A third issue was that if a player was simply rostered on the team that went to Nationals, they were subject to these restricts, even if they never played a match at Nationals!

Thankfully the USTA heard the complaints and there have been some changes for 2015.  Here is how they have documented the change:
 2.06A Move Up/Split Up: Relaxed restrictions for Move Up/Split Up:
- Teams are allowed to move up an NTRP team level and play in another age group within the same division
- There is no restriction for crossover between Adult and Mixed Divisions.
- Move Up/Split Up requirements apply only to players who participated in 3 or more matches, excluding defaults, for that team during the championships year.
The first point addresses the second issue I mentioned.  As I understand it, the 40 & over 3.5 team that went to Nationals would now be able to play as a team in the 18 & over 4.0 flight.

The second point appears to address the first issue I mentioned.

And the third point sounds like it addresses the third issue, at least sort of.  It still doesn't require that a player actually play at Nationals to be restricted, but at least if someone was just rostered or plays fewer than 3 matches they won't be restricted.

The regulation document has the table below listing all the scenarios so take a look at that for more details.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

USTA Northern Section Early Start Ratings Released

I had an Estimated Dynamic NTRP Rating Report customer contact me to tell me that Northern section early start ratings were out and that my report had gotten it right.  This isn't a big surprise given my accuracy on Pacific Northwest and Texas early start ratings, but I thought I'd look closer.

I haven't done a lot of recent reports for players in the Northern section, so I went ahead and picked the aforementioned player's team and checked each player on the roster.  I was not perfect, there was one player I said should be bumped up by a few hundredths but wasn't, but going 15 of 16 isn't too bad, especially with a bunch of players playing up with ratings very close to the bump threshold.

Monday, August 4, 2014

USTA Eastern section strength of tennis players by NTRP level and district - More Interesting USTA League Stats

Continuing in the series of interesting stats blog entries, here is how the Eastern section districts compare.

The chart below shows the average NTRP rating by level for each district in the Eastern section of the USTA. Ratings used are the Estimated Dynamic NTRP Ratings used in calculating Individual and Team reports.

Here is a static image.

Unlike some other sections, the districts in the Eastern section are pretty similar and consistent.

You can hover over each bar in the interactive chart below and see what the average rating for that level in that district is.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

USTA Age Group vs NTRP Tennis Tournaments

I usually focus on USTA League play as that is where Dynamic NTRP Ratings are calculated and that is what I do reports on.  But the USTA sanctions tournament play as well and does so in a couple different categories.  Since I just played in one, I thought it might be interesting to write about them.

There are NTRP tournaments where players use their NTRP rating to play at the appropriate level, similar to USTA League.  Players without a rating must self-rate as one must do for USTA League, and those with a rating must enter a tournament at their current level or higher.  So someone with an NTRP rating of 3.5 can enter a NTRP 3.5 tournament draw but they could also play in the 4.0 draw.

Players that play NTRP tournaments will accrue points based on the rounds they win, the deeper in a tournament they go the more points are available to accumulate.  Points are kept track of in a variety of categories based on the tournament type and level and rankings are based on a simple ordering of the accumulated points.  To accumulate more points, you have to play more tournaments, although I believe there is a cap on the number of tournaments that can be included.

As far as NTRP ratings go, a player that plays only in NTRP tournaments and not USTA League will get a tournament exclusive or "T" rating.  If someone plays in both NTRP tournaments and USTA League, their tournament results will be included in the year-end calculations if they are from a section that chooses to do so.  Whether to include them or not is up to each section.

A challenge with T ratings is that they are only calculated at year-end and there is no 3-strike disqualification.  This means that someone that plays only tournaments can self-rate lower than they should and clean-up at a lower level, even while playing a higher level and doing well there.  And until year-end, there is nothing stopping them from doing so.  Because of this, some consider NTRP tournaments to be not worthy of their time and discount anything NTRP related.  Instead they advocate age group tournaments.

Age group tournaments require, like you would expect from the name, entrants to be a minimum age for a given draw.  These tournaments will sometimes be called "Senior" but will oftentimes also include an Open draw allowing players of any age to enter.  The age groups start at 30 and go up in 5 year increments, although some may be skipped for a given tournament.  In the tournament I just played, they started at 35, skipped 40, but then had all groups from 45 thru 80.  You are not required to play in the closest group to your age, you can "play down".  You can't play up of course.  For example, I played in the 45s with a partner that could have played in a higher age group, but I am not allowed to play up so he had to play down with me.

Age group tournaments do not factor in to NTRP ratings at all.  Instead players accumulate points and can become ranked based on their points.  The goal here is to get as high a ranking as possible on the list for your age group.  Points are accumulated based on a points per round system and not based on wins/losses or scores.  Tournaments will be of varying categories that dictate how many points are given out.

The challenge with age group tournaments is that they will typically draw the best of a given age group to play.  This means the recreational player may not be competitive, especially at the lower age groups.  For example, the 35s will typically have 5.0 and above level players competing.  If a 35 year-old player at 4.0 or below were to enter, it would likely be a blowout and not a good experience for either that player or their opponent(s).

So there is a place for both NTRP and Age Group tournaments.  What do you think?  Which do you prefer to play and why?